8 Years

Harlow and Poppa March 2014

Each year that passes I continue to wonder what the hell happened!!  We had a great life and had so many plans for the future…  I’m told that GOD has his plans, and we are to stand by and see what happens.  I worry about questioning these plans and the actual grand plan as neither of us was raised under a set religion but always felt there was a higher being.

This past year has been interesting as the World returns to some normalcy following the COVID-19 lockdowns, etc.  We have begun to travel some again; I take you with us and spread your ashes wherever I travel.  Since last year you have been to Lake Havasu, AZ, Tucson, AZ, the Santa Cruz Coast and the Mendocino Coast.

This past year included major changes for our children; Erin is now divorced and Tommy is now a Firefighter!  Erin’s life change has been difficult but will be a blessing for her and for Harlow.  Tommy’s life change was a huge decision, but both changes will be a great choice for their families moving forward.

The grandchildren continue to grow and thrive; as of today Harlow is a 5th grader!!  She continues to dance & is on dance team, loves book club, legos, geography, and roller coasters.  Harlow is still losing teeth and is on a path of greatness.  Carlin will start Kindergarten in the Fall; she had an amazing time in TK!!  Her teachers and fellow students love her smile and her love of life!  This little one exudes what life is about, no matter the challenge she will persevere!!  She too is losing teeth (funny back stories) and has been an awesome big Sister to her brother. Brooks… oh this little guy is all boy!!  He reminds me so much of his Daddy and has his Daddy’s head of hair and full of piss and vinegar!!  He is ready to take on the world and share that Horning strength!  My heart truly aches that you have not been here to meet these littles and watch your grandchildren grow.  We continue to talk about you, show them photos of you so they will know you through us.  They carry your blood and your zell for life, you will live on through them.

Your Mom and younger brother are leaving California for Montana soon, near your older brother, although I’ll miss them here I’m glad that they will be together.  I’m pretty sure you and I would be moving close to them had you been here, however I wish them all well, I feel the need to remain close to my kids now.

OK, so now to me…  how am I doing…

I continue to grow and learn about myself; how to handle grief !  That’s a big one; the years past are growing years.  I have been fortunate to find a man that knows my path and we are sharing a life after loss.  We are sensitive and kind to each other’s loss while building a life together; I call it grief and joy co-existing.

I continue to have good days and bad days, but I am blessed with these days nonetheless.  My loss is no less than other losses, but a loss indeed.  I know others who have traveled this loss and I know I’m not alone and am comforted that my loss can provide comfort to others.

As much as I want to just relax at home and not leave my babies, I also know that the best thing for them is to see me put one foot in front of the other and keep going (Thank You Michelle Steinke-Baumgard).

My life is truly not the life I had thought but I have my life and it is up to me to make the best of it!!

As with every year, I like to post a song that hits home with me… 

I’ll bet your up there, makin’ new friends I’m pretty sure you’re lovin every minute.

 If there’s a golden pond full of fish I bet you’ve caught everything in it!

I bet you’re making everybody laugh with your jokes’

I know you’re holding nothing but the best kinda hope

Shining a light up there with a big ol’ smile

 Carry on Mr. Horning!! Love and miss you always!!


7 Years

The world keeps spinning and we keep living our lives without you in it. I still have days that I just sit and ponder why you had to go, it literally makes no sense!! I keep looking/asking for answers. Apparently, there are no answers I just need to accept it and move forward, SMDH!!!

Not certain what happened but I missed posting on your 6th Angelversary!!! I’ll try to catch you up as so much has happened – I’m pretty sure you are aware of everything that’s been going on, but I also like to have this chronicle of life since you passed.

I’ll begin by mentioning the pandemic! COVID-19 was a mess, and honestly still is AND we have a new president –

You, Richard and Al gained another fire angel too. Kevin holds a special place in my heart, the memorial sign he made and placed for you at the accident scene is so awesome. I love to hear about folks that have stopped and visited the memorial.

Our kids continue to make us proud and I just love watching them excel! Erin’s doing great with balancing being a Mom to a very busy daughter, her supervisory position, patient care (although her load has been lessened due to management position), and she has started her own small business. Tommy has made the difficult decision to leave the police force and join the fire department! He too does a wonderful job balancing being a Dad to TWO children now, I’ll tell you more about that later.

Our oldest granddaughter is growing up oh.so.fast! Harlow is doing very well at school and is looking forward to the 4th grade. She is quite a dancer, and Tik-Tok & Roblox wiz. Our youngest granddaughter had back surgery this year to relieve some of the spasticity in her legs, which is working well. One more year of pre-school and she’ll be heading to Kindergarten. We have a grandson!!! Brooks Steven is the spitting image of his Daddy, growing like a weed! We continue to talk about their Poppa to the littles, share stories and pictures so they will know you and how very much he loves them.

Me, after 7 years it became time for me to finish going through your belongings. Going down memory lane with each item I handled has been challenging but a part of it has been comforting too. I was able to ensure most of the items are in the hands of good family & friends where they will be put to great use. It’ll be like having you with them –

I continue to live life the best that I can and think of you so much, gone but NEVER forgotten. I am so thankful to have our families for support and that I have the fire family as an extended family. All have provided me such comfort and guidance during my transition.

In closing, I stumbled across a song recently and the words really spoke to me – I got the best view ever, joking around with Jesus and catching up with Grandpa” I can just see it!! you watching over us brings me such peace.

Much love to you Mr. Horning…

41st Anniversary

I recall our vows 41 years ago, the words ‘till death us do part’…  This was the beginning of our married life, it never occurred to me that those words would become reality!  Yet today, here we are death parted us… It truly broke my heart, I recall the feeling explicitly.

I will always remember our married life and cherish the time that we had together.

I know that you are watching over me and guiding me along in my new life.  I know that you had a hand in directing me to ‘the man that came after’ and are comfortable  with the life that I continue to live in your honor.

I spent time with you at the ocean on Maui a day early as I travel home tomorrow.  It was a beautiful sunrise and I’m sure you saw that too!

Continue to watch over us as you are in our heart…

Much love ❤️  You’ll be in my heart

You’ll Be In My Heart


Five Years


How can it possibly have been five years since you were called away???  I use this picture a lot as I feel it shows who you truly were.  I am very grateful that you were such a good sport to let me take it!

Life continues, moves forward as you always spoke about, little did we realize it would move forward without you…

Despite missing you, we as a family are living our best lives in your honor; you would be extremely proud of the amazing people our kids and their spouses have become.  Each one such a spectacular asset to society.  Our granddaughters are simply THE BEST!  Harlow is starting 2nd grade soon and loves school, dance and fashion.  Harlow has such a tender heart and makes friends easily.  She is going places that girl!!  Carlin is staring school soon too, pre-school better watch out for the youngest Horning as she is ready to take on the world!!  We continue to #sayyourname and they will each know you through our stories and pictures!

You were honored with a street name in Elk Grove!  You would love it as you are surrounded by duck breed named streets, in addition to having Richard Ibarra Drive near you too!!  Speaking of which, I along with Jan and Dina are certain that you were there to embrace your pal/co-worker Al into heaven.  It brings us comfort to envision you three fishing, biking and enjoying a beer, but ‘Just One’.

To commemorate your 5 years as an angel I had tactical knives made in your honor.  They have your last work title, badge number, your ‘dash’, and your signature “COPY THAT” phrase engraved on them.  The proceeds are being donated to the Cosumnes Firefighters Association that sponsor an annual scholarship in your name.  Currently, I’ll be donated $1,000 do the association.  I was completely humbled by the amount of interest from your family & friends.

Now, to me…  I re-retired last August and have been settling in to my new home with Neal.  This man has been a blessing to me.  He, being a widower as well ‘get’s me’ and that is so very important!  We continue to build our new life reflecting on our previous relationships.  We know how to make it work; to love on one another but at the same time honor the relationship that was taken from us.  We have been traveling a bit and as we travel we carry ashes of our spouses, remembering our time with you and wanting you both to experience all that we are now.

Finally, I wanted to share this song, something so powerful!  I want you to know that

“In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky,
In my heart there’ll always be a place for you,
For all my life”…